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Celebration of Friendship Prompts Nationwide Friend Sunday Event on March 30
Churches across the country to honor and promote friendship

Contact: Joni Sullivan Baker, Buoyancy PR, 513-319-3231

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 20, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- With the warmth of an outstretched hand from one friend to another, churches across the nation will honor friendship on Sunday, March 30 for the first annual nationwide Friend Sunday.

Friend Sunday 2014 sparks a new national initiative for churches to join together and encourage members to invite friends and family to a special service where friendship is honored and encouraged. The Friend Sunday movement hopes to reach every home in America with an invitation to a Bible-believing church and ultimately into a relationship with Jesus.

"True friends help one another through life. But in our busy, transient society a lot of people have a hard time meeting people and developing friendships. That is where the Church can come in -- it can be the place where relationships and community are developed, where people find help and support for hard times," said Outreach Vice President Eric Abel. "Friend Sunday provides church members a chance to invite their unchurched friends and family to come and be a part of the community too!"

Friend Sunday was launched in response to a survey of churches who participated in National Back To Church Sunday in 2013 -- over 90 percent of whom said they would be interested in participating in a spring event centered around members bringing a friend with them to church. This survey also shows 84 percent of churches recognize that having a designated day to invite people to church plays an important role in motivating members to reach out to their friends and family with an invitation.

According to church growth expert Win Arn, the friendship factor is one of the most important reasons people come to church. A survey of more than 50,000 people over the last 10 years revealed that between 75 and 90 percent of people say they began attending church because someone invited them.

Participating in Friend Sunday provides churches with an invite-able event in spring in addition to Back to Church Sunday in the fall, and also helps churches get their name and information out in the community through invitations, social media, and word of mouth.

"We were so pleased by the response we heard from churches who are participating in Friend Sunday this year," Abel said. "Their favorable response to this event confirmed there is interest from churches in America who want to participate in this every year."

Churches may still sign up at FriendSunday.com and use the final weeks before the event to encourage their members to invite someone to church on March 30.

Friend Sunday has an interactive Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bringafriendtochurchday) and a roster of participating churches on the Friend Sunday website at FriendSunday.com/findachurch. As churches register, their names and locations are added to the roster, allowing people to easily find a church to attend on this special Sunday.

To help churches successfully plan an effective event, the Friend Sunday Church Kit, which includes videos, a planning guide, web and social media graphics with digital marketing ideas, and a sermon outline, is available at the Friend Sunday Store.

The new initiative will be held annually on the first Sunday of March every year.

Friend Sunday 2015 will be Sunday, March 1, 2015. Churches are encouraged to sign up on the online roster and watch for more information on the 2015 event that will be available this October at FriendSunday.com.

For interviews and more information, contact Alison Kennedy, akennedy@outreach.com, 800-991-6011, ext. 3386.

Founded in 1996, Outreach, Inc. has quickly grown to become the largest provider of church outreach products and services in the world. With a mission to share God’s love and empower the Church to share the message of Jesus Christ, Outreach provides cost-effective, proven methods and resources in a variety of forms, including books, media and film, postcard invitations, banners, bulletin covers, curriculum, church campaign materials, and more. Located in Colorado Springs, the company has established five divisions under the umbrella of Outreach, Inc.